Global Communities: Accelerating Innovation in the Internet of Cities

How cities can learn, adopt and transfer innovations between each other in order to solve local issues of global significance

Cesar Hidalgo of MIT discusses the underlying science of how networks operate
Cesar Hidalgo of MIT discusses the underlying science of how networks operate.

As the world urbanizes, cities are poised to take the lead on many global issues like climate change, economic development, and poverty reduction. And the world will increasingly look to cities to take the lead.

Leading up to the World Urban Forum in Medellin, Colombia, in April, Global Communities is hosting a series of blogs on how cities can learn, adopt and transfer innovations between each other in order to solve local issues of global significance. The series will explore question such as:

  • How can new capabilities in ICT help us speed up the transfer of innovations and empower the marginalized?
  • With open institutions like cities, how can learning be structured so it is open for collective learning and targeted at decision makers?
  • How can it be spontaneous and also sustained to crystalize the desired outcomes?
  • Who should be involved and what institutions are most effective in brokering these connections?

Blogs will appear on the Global Communities website (www.globalcommunities.org) as well as partner websites from March 24 to April 4, 2014.

Contributors include:

Smartness in Three Flavors: By Tim Campbell, Global Fellow, Urban Sustainability Laboratory, The Wilson Center – Campbell explains how cities are on the prowl by the thousands. This has created smartness in three flavors: 1) cities are learning to learn, 2) cities are learning how to use ICT to make city systems more efficient, equitable and resilient, 3) cities are gaining new awareness about the important role they can play on global issues like climate change.

Innovating at the Intersections of Cities: By Janice Perlman, Founder, The Mega-Cities Project – Perlman shares lessons from 20 years of the Mega-Cities Project's city exchanges. She unbundles the learning process and addresses some of the fundamental conditions for effective innovation transfers. She then explains “generation 2.0” of the Mega Cities Project that is reinventing a new global network based on the accumulated wisdom, credibility and integrity of the founding network.

Over the Hump: Getting the Green City Movement to a Tipping Point: BySteve Nicholas, Vice President, Institute for Sustainable Communities – By establishing peer-learning networks and access to information on promising practices, ISC is helping cities advance and scale-up local solutions to the global challenges of climate change. Nicholas will explain how they structure peer-networks and give an example of one of the most meaningful outcomes from the peer exchanges.

Massive Open On-Line Cities: Can Technology and Democracy Create Revolutionary Solutions from the Bottom Up: By Brian English, Director of Program Innovation, Global Communities – English explains how advances in ICT and raw “people-power” are enabling community organizing, global networks and exchanges to take place at both the grassroots and grass-tops. English explains some of his most powerful experiences helping both city officials and its poorest slum residents learn from each other and from other cities.

Frontier Cities: Forging Paths for Partnerships and Learning: By Governor Richard F. Celeste –Governor Celeste describes the importance of city leadership and the partnerships they must forge to stay competitive locally and globally. He illustrates this through the historical and modern-day lens of Denver, Colorado's development. Denver survived and thrived because 19th century visionaries invested in the railway link, but modern-day Denver, and frontier cities around the world, will flourish by investing in educational opportunities that link our societies, institutions and cities to actionable 21st century visions.